It's a good bet there are more than just a few of CLASSIC TRUCKS' loyal readers that like to watch old movies just to see which vintage vehicles will show up on the screen. Add a particularly special edition of an old Chevy pickup to the mix, and we're sure there's going to be an attentive audience.

The year was 1957 and John Phelps had just graduated from high school and moved to Santa Catalina Island, shipping the 1957 Chevy Cameo Carrier he bought brand-new with him. In September of 1965, MGM studios came to the island just 26 miles off the Southern California coast and filmed The Glass Bottom Boat. Check out the scene from around the fountain, and sure enough there it is, John's Sand Beige 1957 Cameo Carrier parked at the curb.

In 1975 John hired on as the harbormaster of Avalon, and retained the position for 25 years. At the start of the 21st century, John retired to the mainland and soon developed a hankering to own another 1957 Chevy Cameo. John kept an eye open and soon found a Cameo carrier on eBay located in New York. John took the seller's word the pickup was rust free and sealed the deal. Unfortunately when the 1957 showed up in California the only part of it that wasn't half rusted to death was its fiberglass bedsides.

Undaunted, John took on the task having the rust bucket turned back into the truck of his dreams. That meant restoring it to the exact specifications of his old love – in other words it had to be bone stock. Somehow things just weren't the same; the unassisted steering was hard to turn and the straight-axle frontend with drum brakes was a rough-riding nightmare that couldn't stop.

Eradicating the heavy steering and weak brakes was handled in one fell swoop with the installation of a Heidt's Mustang II IFS. In the rear, the stock Chevy rearend with 3.9:1 gears was swapped for a 9-inch Ford packing an Eaton posi with 3.55:1 gears. For rear brakes and springs John chose CPP disc brakes with Durant monoleaf springs. Fully chromed 15-inch Wheel Vintiques Rally wheels are stuffed into four chubby Cooper radial tires.

In the driveline department the crunchy three-speed with no synchro in first gear was tossed in favor of an Art Carr-built 200-R4 automatic with overdrive. A small-block V-8 stayed in place, but the displacement jumped from 265 cubes to 350. Power steering and power brakes are great, and having Vintage Air A/C with it is even better. At the front of the crate 350 with an Edelbrock intake and Holley four-barrel is a Billet Specialties Tru Trac serpentine setup spinning the drive accessories. A pair of sand-cast PML valve covers accent the factory stock look amplified with an oil-bath air cleaner converted to a dry element by Jeb's Metal & Speed of Long Beach, California.

For exhaust, Hedman headers are piped to a pair of Flowmaster mufflers and then exit directly behind the Cameo's flat-style tailgate. The body, paint, leather interior, and in fact most of the excellent work performed on John's Cameo was handled by Richard's Wheel & Chassis of Long Beach.

Oh, and one last tidbit of The Glass Bottom Boat movie car trivia: If you spot a 1957 T-bird in the scenes, that'd be the one Tony Dow shipped to Catalina when he hit it big as Wally on "Leave it to Beaver."

1957 Chevy Cameo
John Phelps
Laguna Woods, California

Chassis
Frame: 1957 Chevy 3100
Rearend / Ratio: 9-inch Ford / 3.55:1 Easton posi
Rear suspension: Durant monoleaf springs
Rear brakes: Classic Performance Products disc
Front suspension: Heidt's Mustang II
Front brakes: 1970 Chevy disc
Steering box: power rack-and-pinion
Front wheels: Wheel Vintiques Rally
Rear wheels: Wheel Vintiques Rally
Front tires: Cooper 215/70R15
Rear tires: Cooper 275/70R15
Gas tank: Bob Drake 16-gallon

Drivetrain
Engine: Chevy 350
Heads: 9.0:1
Valve covers: PML cast aluminum
Manifold / Induction: Edelbrock / Holley 670-cfm
Ignition: MSD
Headers: Hedman
Exhaust / Mufflers: Flowmaster
Transmission: Art Carr 200-R4
Shifter: column

Body
Style: 3124 Cameo Carrier
Modifications: none
Fenders front / rear: 1957
Hood: 1957
Grille: 1957
Bodywork and paint by: Richard's Wheel & Chassis Long Beach, CA
Paint type / Color: Urethane / Sand Beige
Headlights / Taillights: stock
Outside mirrors: stock
Bumpers: stock

Interior
Dashboard: stock
Gauges: Auto Meter
Air conditioning: Vintage Air
Stereo: JVC
Steering wheel: Lecarra
Steering column: Flaming River
Seats: stock bench
Upholstery by: Richard's Wheel & Chassis
Material / Color: leather / brown